The DIY Braces Trend Is Deadlier Than Teens Think

I'm not even going to pretend to understand the inner workings of Gen-Z brains, so I've stopped asking questions. But I can't help but wonder what's up with posting YouTube videos on how to make braces out of floss. It looks hella painful and bizarre. Alas, my personal confusion on the matter is nothing compared to the very real and stupidly scary health risks of DIY braces. There is a reason people go to years of dental school and train in orthodontia, and it's not so a bunch of misinformed people can get "free, cheap, and easy" dental work from the comfort of their own laptop screens.

To some degree, I totally understand why this is happening. When you have crooked teeth, you can't help but feel self-conscious about them, and I'm saying that as a person who once had buck teeth so impressively angled and eye teeth so sharp that a stranger once asked my mom what was "wrong" with me. So while a lot of people are comparing this trend to the Kylie Jenner lip challenge, I think it goes far beyond that. The teens who are doing this aren't doing it because it's "trendy" or "stylish." — they're doing it because they probably can't afford the privilege of dental work, and we shouldn't shame them for it.

That being said, there are some huge potential health consequences involved in this new trend that teens are not made aware of when watching these videos. Dentists commenting on the videos have cited that it can cause root damage, tooth decay, bone loss, or even tooth loss. In Thailand, where braces are considered more of a style trend than a necessity, infections caused by DIY braces have been linked to the deaths of two teens.

This has been a PSA: Don't make your own braces, teens. It may suck to endure crooked teeth in these admittedly already-awkward years, but it's not worth the risk. And despite the popularity of these videos, these techniques don't even work. You've got your whole life to get your teeth fixed, but if you keep trying these methods, you may not even have a life at all.

Images: ladysuzi/Fotolia; YouTube